So many times I’m told that I’m not worth anything. So many times I’m told that no one would like me if they knew the real me. The real me thinks this is beautiful and a gift and wonderful. That’s the real me. Beautiful.
The past couple of weeks have been really hard for me. I knew I had to just stop and breathe and lean on the Lord. I knew it was ok to not push myself. My schedule opened up and instead of being afraid, I just knew it was time to do nothing. I think it’s important to know when to slow down, when to give yourself a chance to heal. When to allow yourself time to just feel the pain instead of running from it. It doesn’t really matter what the pain is. It’s real and we all feel it from time to time. It can be a slow throbbing pain that won’t let you go or it can come in waves ebbing away at times only to stab you hard and fast again when you least expect it.
I’m a runner. I don’t run in the physical. I’m loyal and stand my ground. But. I run. In my heart and in my work, I run. I avoid dealing and I hide instead in busy work and I don’t deal and I don’t look and I don’t think on things. I just move on. If I can’t fix it, if I can’t control it I accept it and I move on. I run. It’s a survival mode I’ve had my whole life. I know that if I don’t focus on the pain it goes away and I don’t feel it as deeply. Most of the time this is a great thing for me but this past week or two I had to just stop and breath and feel the pain and accept that it’s real and it’s ok and that time heals all wounds. God heals all wounds and He promises to make the things that seem bad in our life work out for our good. I held on to that promise like it was the air I was breathing.
I’m at a place that I know I am ok, that whatever happens, I may be fragile in it but God is strengthening me every day. I’m His and He’s got this and He’s got the plan. My faith holds me together. Thank God. Literally.
So, when crisis hits in my life, I always, and I mean always, start doubting if I should be a photographer. I’m not getting rich off it. I don’t even feel like it’s a real job for me at times. I love it too much. Do people love what they do as much as I do? When it’s the right fit they do. When it’s what they were born to do they love it this much. I know this logically. But. Every time I get broken over something in my life I think maybe I should go get a “pay check” job and make my Mom proud that I’m bringing home a steady income. Isn’t that crazy? But it’s real. I start doubting what I do in this world and if I’m good enough and if I’m just being selfish. I’m capable of a million careers. I’m smart. I’m strong. I can do anything so should I be doing something that brings home more cash for my family than my photography? I asked God to show me again if I should keep going on this path in my life with my images. I prayed and asked Him if I should get a 9-5 job so I’d quit being afraid I wasn’t doing enough or doing it right. I asked Him if it would be better to be secure with a “pay check” job or to be uncertain with this passion and love. I opened my bible trusting He would lead me to His answer, knowing that He cared that I was tearing myself down again with doubt and fear. The first verses I read floored me and answered my questions. Let’s talk about building faith:
I know those words don’t mean near as much to anyone else probably while reading this but those 2 verses answered everything in my heart I was afraid of. God knew me. He knew how I would understand it. He knew that I couldn’t put into words exactly what I was asking but that I could have faith in how He answered and boy did He answer. I’m not about the money anyway. He knows that. I just want to be able to pay the bills and eat and meet our needs. Go out to eat dinner occasionally. I dream of being able to travel one day but whatever God wills for me is fine. I love the area I’m in and I can find beauty anywhere. Yes, It would always be nice to have money but it’s not my heart.. honest.. my heart is that hill side out front that lets me view the sunset and sunrise.. that’s my heart. My heart is capturing beautiful moments for clients. My heart is family and dear friends and laughing and writing and bonfires and camping and swimming and breathing. If God says it’s better to be without the dough then I don’t have to be afraid about that anymore. =-) I have to give up on the idea that I’m supposed to fit into someone’s image of me. Period. He is my security, not a “pay check” job. God is my security.
I’m glad I’m still a photographer. I’m so thankful that this is my job and my breath and my heart.
Just wanted to share.
I’m telling you. God is amazing. Jesus is real and He does not leave us. This morning I was struggling with why I wasn’t forcing the need to go to church. Tim wasn’t feeling good but I usually go anyway. This morning I felt I needed to stay home. I’m not advocating NOT going to church. Church is very important. I don’t normally feel guilt anymore. Not since I found GRACE have I felt a burden of guilt but I kinda felt it lurking in the background of my heart this morning just questioning me. “Are you not as close to God as you normally feel Shannon? Is that why you don’t want to go on to church?” No. That’s not it I decided. God is ever near me. I’m not running or hiding. I want Him to be so close I don’t have to reach out to Him. I want Him so close that He’s just right here with me and I have no doubt. I spend time with Him and I seek His will for my life and every moment. No. I’m close to Him and He’s closer yet to me. So what is going on? “Is it the new church you attend Shannon? Do you not feel like you fit in or that you should be there?” No. I don’t judge a place for worshiping on me or the people there. If the word of God is right and true and God has lead me to that place then I can and will worship there. I already love the people at my church. I see such Gems, precious believers. No. That definitely wasn’t it. Something much deeper was going on here. I lay down on the couch and relaxed. Tim was resting on the other side. I didn’t do anything. I lay there in the quiet feeling the sunshine on my face. It was beautiful and peaceful. I decided that God understood what was going on even if I didn’t and I left it with Him. I prayed. I accepted that He had this. Eventually I fell asleep for a time. It was really quite beautiful. I don’t rest much. I sleep hard and fast and jump right back up to work most of the time. Just slowing down for a moment was nice. Real nice. When I woke up a short time later, I fixed us food and checked my phone. Texted my daughter and my best friend and then washed a few dishes and sat back down to skim Facebook.
I randomly saw in the newsfeed on Facebook a link to an online course about “Becoming – The Unfolding of You”. I wasn’t even sure why I clicked it. The gal that posted about it said some beautiful things but like I have time to do anything much more than I’m doing. Even as I clicked it, I thought that if it costs I can’t do it. There’s no way. I had to know what it was though. I was driven.
I loved what I saw right away. Art. I’m so about the art. The writing. The Photography. The Love of our Lord. I saw all of that right off the bat. Then I saw it was free. Most of her series are not but this one was because she knew the Lord had said for it to be. Tears came immediately to my eyes. God had thought of me and all the other folks who did not have large incomes. I was reminded instantly of how God has handed me every blessing and ability to be a photographer and still eat. Then I saw a verse that God had been giving me over and over these past 2 weeks. The same verse that I posted with these words from Jeanne Oliver’s “Becoming” post. I knew instantly I was supposed to be here and that God had lead me to this moment for a reason. I’m only just getting into it. I can’t begin to tell you what it’s all about but the miracle that I stumbled on this (actually was lead and directed to this) course is just heart bursting and faith building. I am in total tears even as I write this. God is so good to me. Jesus gets me.
I feel so alone. Word. I know God is with me and I know there are believers all around me. I thank God for that, for them. We live in bubbles though and there isn’t much freedom in bubbles. You go too far to the side and you could shatter everything. So you stay the course because you know your suppose too and because you don’t want to hurt anyone and truly love people. It takes strength and courage most would think but really it just takes a strong grasp on the Lord and a strong knowledge that the Lord loves you and that you’re His. You know the difference in right and wrong and you know you don’t want to break people. You want to build them up. Period. While you are in that state you realize you need something deeper in this physical world though. I realize that need to be fed. I need more than just me in my normal days to lift me up in the spirit. God knew that. I had no idea that there were even courses out there like this. Jeanne Oliver’s website looks amazing. I had no idea that photographers could do things like this with their talent and time. It hadn’t crossed my mind. I’m so excited that I could dance lol. I’m so excited to delve into this and see what it’s all about. God is opening my eyes to other ways to use my talents here as well. That is phenomenal. Something to feed my spirit and something to grow me as an artist which I’ve been begging for. Amazing. He’s just amazing. HE confirms that He hears me constantly and this was just one more way He confirmed this. He also shows me that He places these desires in me to begin with. If He places it there, won’t He fulfill it in me? Of course He will. I don’t have to be afraid of not accomplishing His will. Ever. He leads me. Isn’t that crazy amazing GREAT!? Just beautiful. I’m so excited. SO EXCITED!
Do You Ever Look Up
Do you ever look up
At the sky above
The Heavens that move
And fit the Earth as a glove
The gift our Creator
Has given us each
The beauty that transfers
Such hope and peace
I am always amazed at
How grand a view
When I stop for a moment
To see what is new
So joyfully blessed
That my heart can see
Our Father in every
by Shannon Edwards
( please click on images to see the larger version)
Please click images to view larger.
I waited all afternoon. It doesn’t really matter what I waited on it does it? You know that feeling of expecting and watching and holding your breath. I could hear the clock ticking. Every car that drove by I jumped up to see if it was what I had been waiting for. Yes. I waited all afternoon.
My husband knew I was waiting. He never asked me why I continued to wait. We never talked about it. I hate to admit it but he knows me without my having to explain too much. 17 years will do that if someone wants to know you. Finally at 7:30pm, he knew what I was waiting for wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t know that. I still held out hope. My husband didn’t tell me I was silly or ridiculous or that I was stupid though. He could of. He could of gotten jealous that my focus wasn’t on him or he could of gotten aggravated that I wasn’t working on my photography. Instead, he asked me if I’d like to go for a drive. I sighed deeply. Yes. Yes I would like to go for a drive. I wanted to stop waiting. Riding in the Jeep with no lid would be a great diversion. It always made me feel free. “ Let me grab my camera!” I told him as I stood up from my desk. He teased me though and said “Nope, you can’t take your camera”. We laughed going out the door, camera in hand, but as I climbed in the Jeep quietly, I felt that heavy heart fretting, hoping everything was ok. Wondering why my wait had not produced the end result I’d expected.I said a little prayer speaking to The Lord and tried to let it go. That’s all I could do.
We pulled out of the yard and onto the gravel road to the main drive. I saw the glow of the sunset way before I saw the sunset. It was stunning. Tim has been the husband of a photographer for way too long. He not only stopped in the middle of the main road for me to shoot the scene from the Jeep, but He backed up and pulled forward on command. That’s something to treasure. My first images were foggy because our air conditioner is set very low and our house is very cold. There was no time to wait for my camera lens to warm from 60 degrees to 99. I cleaned the lens and kept shooting laughing all the while. I cleaned it over and over before the fog left. I happen to love what was created.
Tim and I drove on to the Dam inside of the first gate at Cedar Lake moments later and I gasped at how beautiful the scene was. The whole sky glowed and I just melted into the amazing beauty that God was handing me. I jumped out of the Jeep and began shooting.
As I continued shooting a man drove toward us on the Dam. He stuck his head out of his van and called across to me,”You got a zoom on that thing?” “I sure do,” I called back. “Well there is a Great Blue Heron behind me on the dock.”
Sweet! So cool of him to tell me. I thought he must be talking about a fish. lol. I told him I was going to finish shooting the sun and head that way. He must of thought I was a schmuck. He smiled and waved and drove away. A nagging feeling came over me and I turned to see the dock. I was far away enough to have to squint but I did see something perched on the top of the railing. Then it hit me. It’s a bird. On close inspection I realized this was what I had been calling a crane every time I’d photographed it. According to the internet it is not a Crane. There are only 2 Crane species in North America and this is not one of them.
I slowly walked closer and closer. The lens I was using was a Nikon 28-300mm. I couldn’t get near as close I wanted. But I could still see it. And loved what I captured.
Tim rolled the Jeep up behind me as I got further and further away and eventually the crackle of the gravel startled The Great Blue Heron. I was secretly glad. It flew to the other side of the lake.
I jumped in the Jeep and asked Tim to rush to the other side. I had seen The Great Blue Heron land. He was sitting on the dock across the water. Tim obliged and the race was on. I caught this lovely shot on the way there deep in the woods where twilight had already settled.
As we approached the water on the far side of the lake, I asked Tim to park the Jeep and I walked to the top of the beach. I didn’t want to scare this lovely bird again.
A little girl and her family were camping near the water. She saw what I was doing and took a great interest in The Great Blue Heron. She even walked slowly toward it the way I had. She was precious, but the bird got scared and flew away.
Again I was glad. It was almost too dark to shoot and I’d gotten lovely images. It was desperately hot and I was making Tim sit waiting on me. He’s not so much into photography lol. Yes. I was glad The Great Blue Heron flew away. It was time for me to move on. I turned back toward the main part of the lake and saw this just in time.
I wanted to thank my husband for waiting on me and driving me and suggesting that we even go for a drive. And I wanted to remind ourselves that sometimes waiting is actually the best thing in the whole world.
Never give up. God gives us the most beautiful life if we are willing to wait on Him.
I love you all. So glad I got the chance to share this with you.